The school year was fantastic thanks to a super 1st and 2nd grade teacher. She is positive with a loving nature and likes to challenge students in learning. She was always respectful and open to parents and wonderful example of what a teacher should be. As for other instructors at the school, I have heard some disheartening personal stories of children being called "smart aleck" several times per week in class. Certain teachers shaming children in front of others.When teachers use the "old method" of public embarrassment and shame, this is a form of bullying and is not a good example for children. Personal integrity and respect can be taught to children without shaming them. Consequences for behavior? Yes! But shaming and guilt? No! The new principal seems open and kind and perhaps there needs to be a teacher meeting reminding teachers be mindful of the words they speak to their students. A teacher is in a position of leadership and authority. The discouraging and shaming words a teacher speaks to little ones can influence them for the rest of their lives. This is why teachers should be both honored and held to a high standard as well. It's the most important job in the world.
My first impression of Hidden Valley Elementary is that the school buildings, office area, and classrooms all look rather old and dingy. A new coat of paint inside and out, and some organizing if the classrooms, pod areas, and supplies would help immensely. The office staff was not very friendly or helpful when I registered my child for classes. Our family is new to the Martinez area and our kids had to start mid-school year at new schools in the Mount Diablo Unified School District. A helpful attitude and a smile from the office staff would have gone a long way towards helping my young child and I feel more welcomed at this new school and new neighborhood. My child's teacher, however, was very kind and welcoming. The class size (33 students) seemed to be too big, especially for the size of the classroom. I think the parent volunteers at this school deserve a lot of credit for keeping the school a positive, functioning educational environment. I am not sure that my child is learning anything new or being challenged academically, but I do think my child is learning some social skills. There is a new principal at this school; time will tell if this will be a help or hindrance.
Our kids have been at HV for 6 years. The school in our opinion is average. The teachers are great with a long longevity which is very hard to find: they enjoy their jobs and are very passionate which shows (some have been there 20+ years). There is a new prinicipal as of April 14 so I cannot comment on him and his skills. The main point to make is that the school is WAY too large. Class sizes everywhere in MDUSD are over 30 kids per class but it's the overall over populated school community with over 800 children, some bused from other schools. Bullying, those with behavioral issues/foul language, will not be stopped as there are too many children vs staff. One of ours has disabilities and we transferred out early bc of the lack of special ed services offered and rendered. Keep an open dialogue with your children each day as to how each day goes for them. The parent volunteer association is great however, it's the same 10% of parents that do all the work, which is indicitive at other schools as well. Overall, it's just too big of a campus with not enough support services. I have yet to find anyone 100% happy with their school within the MDUSD besides Sequoia.
Great teachers, very strong parent involvement. My son is thriving at Hidden Valley, and has learned so much since starting here. There is a strong sense of neighborhood community at this school, which we really love. There is a new principal that started last month, and he is so nice and dedicated. The teachers and staff seem very happy with his leadership.
My Daughter is in 5th grade and has attended HV since Kinder. We have never had anything but a great experience. All 6 of her teachers have been GREAT. They are engaged and really seem to care about the kids not only learning but they have each tried to make their classroom special in some way. I have not needed to seek out the Principal, so I can't speak for her. The office staff does double-time and yet, takes the time to answer any needs. The parents at this school are VERY involved. There are always more than 2 room Moms in each of the classes. The vast majority of the kids seem kind and well-adjusted. It has been a very positive experience for my child. She is wee-prepared for Middle School.
The office staff are very confrontational when asked for documentation . The principals change every week and the whole school is very chaotic. There is no pledge of allegiance and organized community gatherings I would not send my dog to this school
If the principal is the same principal that was there in 2006, please consider private school instead, your money will be well spent. That woman was a horrible person who cared nothing for the children. She was just a bitter, horrid human being. I give the school 2 stars because the vice principal and the school counselor were actually very decent people. My daughter was severely bullied and the principal blamed her for it. She said there must be something wrong with my daughter for the other kids to bully her, and the problem was with her and not with the bullies. She literally told me that there must be something wrong with my child for her to get beat up by so many other children like that. No action was ever taken against the kids who beat my child up several times. I have no clue why this woman was even working with children, she should not be allowed near them.
I think this school is excellent. I have a first grader and a "Kinder" and both love their teachers and the school. Is a place where "everyone knows everyone" in a positive way. Great learning environment. Great Special Day Class program--one of the best!!!
Totally disappointed with the principal's lack of appropriate leadership, lack of follow through and general lack of knowlwdge of how to deal with children overall! The teacher assigned to my childs class also lacks experience for that grade level and I would not recommend this school to anyone. My child will be moved from this horrible school as soon as possible. They operate on punative rather than uplifting and inspiring the children! I am appauled at the way this school is run!
My children have attended HVE for 4 year. With few exceptions, the teachers have been solid, superstars - really working within the limitations of NCLB to develop creative, interesting curriculum. From the beloved music instruction of Ms. Brown to the gentle SST coaching by Kirsten Watson to a strong parent volunteer corps, the school is a dynamic & rich place of learning. There is a wonderfully positive, hopeful atmosphere at the school thanks to the luminous & kind leadership of the new principal, Sandy Bruketta. She deserves huge credit for the enormous morale make-over of the staff, parents & the children after a somewhat discouraging few years of leadership. Finally, no review is complete without kudos to the front office staff - Lorie Robertson & Kathy Kearns - always there for our kids!